10 Protesters Arrested Outside Peabody Energy Shareholders Meeting in Clayton Hotel

May 9, 2014 at 8:45 am
click to enlarge Anti-Peabody Energy protesters are arrested in St. Louis. - Photos by Take Back St. Louis
Anti-Peabody Energy protesters are arrested in St. Louis.

For the second time in a week, police arrested activists protesting against Peabody Energy, the St. Louis-based coal giant.

Ten protesters were arrested Thursday as another 65 people rallied outside Peabody's annual shareholder meeting at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Clayton, according to the activist group Take Back St. Louis.

Eight activists were arrested trying to enter the hotel to deliver a letter of demands to CEO Greg Boyce. Two other protesters who bought Peabody shares in order to attend the shareholders meeting were arrested trying to access the meeting from a nearby overflow room inside the hotel.

Clayton police captain Stewart Glenn says the activists in custody will probably be charged with trespassing, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Inside the meeting, Boyce painted 2013 as a banner year for Peabody.

"2013 was a year of substantial achievement despite market headwinds," Boyce said at the meeting. "We matched our record safety performance from 2012, increased productivity, reduced costs, lowered capital investments, generated solid cash flow and repaid debt."

Last Friday police arrested seven Washington University students demonstrating against the school's close ties to the coal company. Boyce serves on the school's board of trustees.

See also: Police Arrest Seven Washington U Students at Protest Against Peabody Coal Exec

Peabody's big shareholders meeting drew more protesters than just St. Louis activists and Washington University students. Residents from Rocky Branch, Illinois, and the Black Mesa region of the Western U.S. joined local protesters to object to Peabody's mine expansion there.

"I am here today to continue to spread the message that the Wash. U. Students Against Peabody started spreading with their actions over the past weeks," says Marshall Johnson, an activist who lives on the Navajo reservation in Arizona's Black Mesa where Peabody extracts millions of tons of coal each year. Johnson and the Navajo and Hopi residents of Black Mesa say Peabody's strip-mining uproots families and pollutes the water and air.

"We need to stand up to Peabody on Black Mesa and here in St. Louis so our children and grandchildren and all future generations can have clean water and clean air," Johnson says.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at [email protected].